The easiest way to keep emails organized is to create folders inside Outlook for each client (or project or matter) and then move both sent and received emails to those folders… or so we thought.
A recent survey that we carried out of professionals (lawyers, architects, engineers etc) who use Outlook revealed that most users prefer to move emails out of the Inbox BUT not from the Sent Items folder.
Instead they prefer to copy emails out of the Sent Items folder and leave the original in Sent Items. In this article we look at why… and how you can copy emails instead of moving them.
Why you need a copy in the Sent Items folder
There are two main reasons that professional using Outlook prefer to keep a copy of all emails sent in the Sent Items folder.
1. Filling in Timesheets: Professional often bill clients for time. While timesheets should be filled as the work is done, this doesn’t always happen. Timesheets are often filled at the end of the day. The Sent Items folder often provides a good reminder about the work that we did on a particular day.
2. Finding emails quickly: You will probably need to refer to at least some of the emails you sent today in the next few days (probably to answer questions on a phone call, to clarify what you said etc) While Outlook’s search is pretty good even if you have emails filed away in folders, the easiest way to find a recently sent email is to quickly scan your Sent Items folder!
How to copy emails from the Sent Items folder
I am going to give you a more automated solution at the end of this post but the two manual ways of doing this in Outlook are:
Manual Method 1: The Move Command
Go to your Sent Items folder.
Right-click over the email that you want to move.
Click Move and then click Copy to Folder to display the Copy Items screen.
Select the folder and then click OK.
Method 2: Drag and Drop
The other way of copying a email is to drag and drop the email BUT do the drag and drop using the Right mouse button instead of the normal left.
When you drop the email (by releasing the right mouse button), you will see a small pop-up.
Click Copy and the email will be copied to your chosen folder.
An automated option for busy people
If keeping emails organized is important to your business, then you may also want to look at QuickFile for Outlook. QuickFile will save you hours of valuable time by learning and recommending where to file your emails. You will be able to file 90% of emails at the click of one button.
Best of all QuickFile can prompt you (with the recommended folder), whenever you click Send… and automatically file a copy of the email to your chosen folder and still leave a copy in the Sent Items folder.
If you find Outlook almost hanging up on you while you are writing emails, this tip will save you from a lot of frustration (and as a bonus increase your focus and productivity).
Does this sound familiar…?
You’re replying to an email and then Outlook starts doing something in the background. It basically locks up! You can’t do anything except wait for it to finish!
After a few moments, you get tired of waiting so you switch over to something that still works on your computer… something to do while you’re waiting… most probably the Internet… or Facebook.
10 minutes later you remember what you were actually working on! That’s 10 minutes wasted just because Outlook started doing something you never asked it to in the first place.
And it’s not just 10 minutes. It normally takes another 10 minutes to get refocussed again.
How many 10 minutes do you lose in your day?
I spend a significant part of my day working on emails and recently I have been having this problem several times a day.
I use Outlook 2013 with Office 365 and I discovered that the problem seems to coincide with when my Outlook is syncing emails with Office 365… particularly when I am working from home where my Internet connection is not as fast.
I found that I can greatly improve my productivity by making Outlook work offline when I plan to do actual work.
This is what you need to do:
- Go to Outlook
- Click Send/Receive on the Ribbon and then click Work Offline.
- Work on your emails
- Make Outlook go back online (by clicking on the Work Offline button again).
Warning: Please remember to make Outlook go online again. While Outlook is offline, no emails will be sent or received. Emails that you send will still be in the Outbox and new emails will be not be received in your Inbox (they will be waiting to be downloaded from your mail server when you go back online).
This simple tip has had a surprisingly positive effect on my productivity. Why?
- It stops Outlook from hanging up so I am able to get what I am working on completed without waiting for Outlook. I don’t get distracted to look at other things (Facebook!!).
- I also don’t get distracted by new emails popping in to the Inbox while I am working on something. (New emails are not downloaded while Outlook is working offline)
- As a bonus I enjoy work more without the frustrations of waiting.
Did this tip help you? Do you have your own tips for fixing Outlook performance issues? Please let us know by leaving a comment below.
We are happy to report that thanks to your support, Standss has had the privilege of again making a donation to the Hilton Special School. In this post I would like to share details of how the donation will be used and some of the truly inspiring work we witnessed when the Standss team visited the school last week.
The Hilton Special School is the main organization in Fiji that works with children with hearing and physical disabilities. This organization serves a very important and often neglected group of children in our community… and they have been doing it very well for many years.
The organization operates a school, an early intervention center, an audiology unit, a physiotherapy unit and a hostel.
While they get some government assistance, a lot of their work is only possible with the help of grants and donations.
Last year we donated $10,000 to them to assist with setting up a new physiotherapy unit. The physiotherapy unit has now been setup.
Last week we donated an additional $10,000 which will be used towards the salary of a qualified physiotherapist who will work with the children.
During our visit to the school, we were given a tour of the different classes that are currently being held. Some of the truly inspirational things that we learnt and witnessed included:
• The children are taught the exact same syllabus that are taught in all other schools in Fiji. The only difference here is the mode of learning as the children here need different attention because of hearing impairments or restricted mobility.
• The teachers of one class were both without hearing. They had benefited from the work that from organizations like Hilton in their youth, had gone through teacher training and were now inspiring and teaching other students that their disabilities did not have to hold them back.
• The Hilton School also had a computer lab. Krishneer Sen, the teacher and administrator of the lab was also a former Hilton student.
After Hilton, he went to a technical school in New Zealand and then won a scholarship to Gallaudet University which is the world’s only university designed to accommodate deaf and hard of hearing students.
Krishneer is a source of inspiration for all of us.
His life shows us what is possible with support and determination. He also shows the tremendous impact that organizations such as Hilton have , not only on individuals directly affected, but also on the lives of people that that these individuals will affect in turn.
I know that I may have overused the word but this visit by our team was truly inspiring for us.
It is too easy to forget that just having normal hearing, site and mobility is a privilege.
It is humbling to see the work that others are doing to empower these children to live full lives.
We want to thank the team at Hilton for their service and for allowing us the opportunity to contribute.
And finally… we want to take this opportunity to thank all our customers.
We are only able to support Hilton and other similar organizations because of your continued support of our products and company.
We want you to know that you have are making a difference.
Sanjay and the team at Standss
Here’s a little tweak that I did to Outlook Search (in Outlook 2013) to make it work faster for me.
What is Outlook Search
Outlook displays a Search box at the top of your emails. Simply click in the search and type the words that you are looking for.
In Outlook 2013, you can also change where the Search is done (current folder, current mailbox, all mailboxes etc) directly from the same screen
How to make Outlook Search your Inbox faster
By default Outlook searches for emails in the current folder except if you’re in the Inbox. IF you are searching from the Inbox, Outlook searches for emails in all folders in your current mail box.
The problem with this is that Searching for emails from your Inbox can be slow because it is searching for emails in all folders instead of just the current folder.
You can change where to search each time but this seems to almost hang Outlook if the Search has already started.
Instead you can change Outlooks settings to search only the current folder when you are in the Inbox.
Click File > Options
Click the Search tab to display Search Options.
Select Current Folder and click OK
Now when I do a Search from the Inbox the results are almost instant. I can still Search all folders by selecting Current Mailbox or All Mailboxes from the list on the right of my Search box if I want to do a wider search.
Why this works for me
This works for me because I usually go to the folder I am interested in before I do my Search. When I am searching my Inbox, I know that I am looking for an email in my Inbox.
Share your own thoughts on Searching by leaving a comment below.
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